[VIDEO] NYU Student Interrupts Ray Kelly At Columbia Guest Lecture

[UPDATE: VIDEO BELOW] Yesterday, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly held a Q&A session up at Columbia in an urban public policy class. Everything was going just fine, until a heckler disturbed everything. While high-ranking officials get harassed all the time in public forums, this one is special. This particular protester had to take the NQR to the 1 to berate Kelly, since this guy was from NYU.

Bwog reports that in the middle of Kelly answering a question, a student pulled out a projector and began to show a slideshow of photos depicting police brutality on the wall behind Kelly. As the commissioner continued to speak, ignoring the politically-charged goings-on behind him, the student turned the projector around so that Kelly can see the slideshow. When that doesn’t catch his attention, the student fully interrupts Kelly by reading from a military history textbook. And then things got really awkward: 

“This student stood up and called for Kelly’s resignation. “Are you serious, Kelly?’ he asked. ‘Resign now.’ [The professor] sprung up from his chair and instructed the young man to ‘take it easy.’ Several students asked if he was even registered for the course. ‘No, I go to NYU,’ he said. A groan went up and students began asking him to leave… ‘Well, this is very intimidating,’ Kelly said, grinning.”

After Kelly pretty much laughed in the face of the iMovie protester, the NYU student gathered his things and declares that he had been arrested thrice for “freedom of speech on this land.”

We are all for free speech, and the brutality of Commissioner Kelly’s force against OWS protestors is worthy of demonstration and direct questioning, but is lecture-bombing the right way to go about it? This is the second time this semester NYU students have pretty rudely occupied forums, following NYU4OWS’ outburst at John Sexton’s most recent Town Hall Meeting. While we are unsure if this particular incident is affiliated with NYU4OWS, he certainly followed in the same tactics.

For any aspiring protestors out there, you may not be doing it correctly if everyone starts groaning.

[UPDATE: 12/1] Democracy Now! has footage of the whole shebang:

As Rosie at the Voice mentions, Manhattan D.A. Cy Vance Jr., federal judge George Daniels, and former judge Milton Mollen were all in attendance at the class.

[Image via]


    Share Your Thoughts


  1. says

    OR maybe the person “doing it wrong” is the guy who starts groaning when the NYPD commissioner is publicly confronted regarding his department’s systemic pattern of lawlessness, abuse and political violence. Just a thought.

  2. Stuart Schrader says

    This protester is not affiliated with NYU4OWS. And how do you even know he is truly an NYU student? Speculation, rumor, innuendo … Keep up the good work.

  3. says

    @Stuart – “I go to NYU” means that it’s not speculation, rumor, or innuendo. It’s a quote from the kid. If he’s lying, that reflects on him, not us.

    @Ned – I’m pretty torn on this; I think that it makes sense for OWS to lecture-bomb in the sense that it’s the only opportunity they’ll get to voice their concerns, but I think at the same time, a major focus of the movement should be on raising awareness and promoting solidarity. If the movement’s tactics alienate tons of people, they’re not productive.

    It’s not clear from the Bwog article whether or not the student actually said anything coherent — that quote seems pretty choppy, but if he really did just say, “seriously, Kelly? Resign now,” it doesn’t do much to forward the goals of the movement or to even raise awareness about what Kelly’s faults are…

  4. Faith Stillitano says

    Well said, Ned. A lot of people around the country are more than groaning. Who is groaning in agony? The children living in trucks because justice has not been served on Wall Street and a what has been a criminal banking system? Or do we pity poor Police Chief Kelly?


    Considering the method by which the NYC Mayor illegally allowed himself to run for a 3rd term (he used his influence/chrony Christie Quinn bypassing the NYC Council referendum which said he nor any Mayor could run for a 3rd term), and considering the over-the-top violence the Mayor and Kelly forced upon predominantly and admittedly peaceful protestors, it is reasonable to say that the scales of injustice are weighed down with Bloomberg/Kelly hypocrisy. Voicing ones opinion to speak out against that hypocrisy – though perceived as being “rude” – is appropriate. It is beyond rude what has yet to take place (fiscal reform/prosecution of high end thievery), it is criminal, or don’t ya know this?

    Michael E – funniest thing ever written. Seriously I laughed out loud. Siberia!!! Hahahaha,

  5. Maurice McClain says

    Bloomberg and Co. are reaping what they sow, as they have been stifling the jobs of reporters and beating peaceful people. So what is the resolve..a Letter to the Editor is going to fix things? We know who Bloomberg is, now we’re certain who Kelly is: they both BROKE the LAW. Think the protests are going to fizzle by March? HA! Hold on to your hat, and keep a close eye on whether or not these two elitebankster protecting clowns figure out that suppressing free speech and the rights of journalists will only strengthen the people who seek peace and justice (aka OWS). This is still America, land of the Free, for now…

    Mayor Bloomberg Has Perfected the Art of a Tin Horn Dictator Suppressing a Free Press
    Submitted by Mark Karlin, Editor of Buzzflash at Truthout
    Wed, 11/30/2011 – 10:45am

    How do you put the First Amendment through a shredder, prevent media coverage and arrest and rough up journalists when you don’t want the world to see what you are up to? The answer: become the mayor of New York.

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg is not the only elected official who is suppressing a free press guaranteed in the Constitution. But he has best perfected the tin horn dictator art of physically obstructing journalists. Just look at the smashing of Occupy New York under the cover of darkness.

    Using the “1984” excuse of “protecting” journalists, Bloomberg has allowed the New York Police Department (NYPD) free rein to prevent the Fourth Estate from being anywhere near questionable police activity. As a result, reporters have gotten roughed up and arrested for doing their jobs.

    It’s gotten so bad that The New York Times – normally deferential to Bloomberg – printed a November 25 editorial deploring the aggressive NYPD effort to suppress the reporting of, among other actions, the raid on Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park. The Times was blunt in its outrage:

    “In many countries, using a camera or taking notes can get you into trouble. That is not supposed to happen in New York City. Yet as police cleared Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan on Nov. 15, a number of journalists were roughed up and arrested. Many were prevented by police from documenting what happened that night …

    Before clearing tents and other structures from Zuccotti Park, for example, a police representative asked journalists in the area for press credentials. Reporters and photographers do not need credentials to be in a public area. The passes are supposed to give them better access, but those who admitted having passes were instead herded to a penned area blocks away from the police action.

    At another spot closer to the park, police were carrying a protester covered with blood when a photographer raised his camera. When two police officers spotted the camera, they shoved a barricade into the photographer, screaming that he was not permitted to take pictures even though he was on the sidewalk.”

    In a chilling video, one courageous journalist tries to get the NYPD to allow him to do his job and report the news. Fortunately, the police did not have the “foresight” to intimidate the person recording the encounter.

    It “is not supposed to happen in New York City,” but it has – and the blame for tossing the First Amendment into a Big Apple trash can goes straight to the top: Mayor Bloomberg.

  6. John Smith says

    @Willis (regarding response to Stuart) Actually, journalism ethics say the exact opposite. It is the responsibility of the news organization to ensure that all information is correct, regardless if it is a direct quote or not. A correct quote that states incorrect information can be considered libel in a court of law.

  7. Maurice McClain says

    @ Willis and John: “He” – this possible NYU student (it doesn’t matter one way or the other) is only the messenger. This is one of the biggest problems with our generation today. Discourse on critical subjects of national/local importance simply doesn’t happen because we attack the messenger. Focus on the issue being raised.

    Speaking of the Draconian measures used to beat, pepperspray peaceful protestors and students into “getting back in line and restoring order” – THEE most Draconian legislation EVER (direct quotes in national media and by some elected officials) passed through the Senate of the United States Government this week, and is headed for the President’s desk next week. We hope to read about it on Monday in NYU Local.

    Wonder why the story isn’t plastered atop CNN as a top story. What is more important than it?

    Bringing the War of Terror Home
    Nov 29, 2011
    Rep. Justin Amash, (R-Mich.), explains why he voted against a defense bill that would allow American citizens to be detained by the U.S. Military.

    Senate Passes National Defense Authorization Act; PA Sens. Have No Response on Indefinite Incarceration Provision
    Dec 2, 2011 by Randy LoBasso

    Senate approves indefinite detention and torture of Americans



    Don’t attack me, I’m just passing along what is worse than the Patriot Act, and coupled with it, strips away the America we were taught in grade school. And for what? Homeland Security? Or more control of Americans?

    Come on Local, get on it..forget the rest of the noise drowning out this huge story.